Review: ‘H.M. Pulham, Esq.’

What will please the book-readers - and probably the non-readers as well - is the faithfulness with which King Vidor and Elizabeth Hill have transferred the John P. Marquand novel to the screen.

What will please the book-readers – and probably the non-readers as well – is the faithfulness with which King Vidor and Elizabeth Hill have transferred the John P. Marquand novel to the screen.

Major defect in the celluloid version is the casting of Hedy Lamarr in principal femme role. It’s Lamarr’s Viennese accent which is jarring, although her looks and acting otherwise are tops.

Pulham (Robert Young) is of the wool-dyed Boston Backbay, bred in its Brahmanism from the day he was born, when his father registered him for entrance in St Swithin’s School 12 years hence. Coming back from the war, he succeeds in breaking away from his family to take a job in a New York agency, where he and fellow-copywriter Lamarr fall in love. She carries a torch for him for some 20 years.

But Lamarr is not of Boston and refuses to take to it or give up her career. Pulham, when his father dies, marries a family-approved gal (Ruth Hussey) and they live the conventional Hub humdrum until Pulham is called upon to write a biog of himself for a Harvard reunion and sits down to reminisce.

H.M. Pulham, Esq.

Production

M-G-M. Dir King Vidor; Producer [uncredited]; Screenplay Elizabeth Hill, King Vidor; Camera Ray June; Editor Harold F. Kress; Music Bronislau Kaper Art Dir Cedric Gibbons, Malcolm Brown

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1941. Running time: 119 MIN.

With

Hedy Lamarr Robert Young Ruth Hussey Charles Coburn Van Heflin Fay Holden
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